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The Euro - European Currency Quick Guide

What the traveler needs to know about the Euro


'Euro banknotes of 20, 50 and 100 euros, and some coins.'
Jose Antonio Santiso FernA!ndez/E+/Getty Images

If you haven't traveled to Europe for a long time, perhaps the one major difference you'll find is in the currency. Travel through the 12 participating countries and you won't have to go through the hassle of converting local currencies because the Euro is now their official monetary unit. The participating countries and the old currency values representing one Euro are shown below.

Country--Old Currency Rate
Belgium--Belgian franc 44.3399
Greece--Greek drachma 340.750
France--French frank 6.55957
Italy--Italian lira 1936.27
Netherlands--Dutch guilder 2.20371
Portugal--Portuguese escudo 200.482
Germany--Deutsche Mark 1.95583
Spain--Spanish peseta 166.386
Ireland--Irish pound 0.787564
Luxembourg--Luxembourg franc 40.3399
Austria--Austrian schilling 13.7603
Finland--Finnish markka 5.94573

Quick facts about the Euro:

  • While all coins will have the same front face, each country may customize the backs of the 8 coins with forms of national identity. Here's how they all look.
  • Notes are issued in seven denominations from 5 Euro though 500 Euro.
  • Six coins representing fractional values of the Euro (cents) are circulated..
  • Two Coins with the value 1 and 2 Euros are circulated.
  • The size of the coins increases in size with their face value.
  • Western European Nations not participating are: The United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.

The Euro started trading at around $1.18 (history). Where's it at now?

To see current rates, you can use XE.com's Universal Currency Converter.

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